Defending champions Islamabad started from where they left off last season with a convincing win over Lahore Qalandars in the tournament opener but have since gone off the boil with back-to-back defeats against Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators.
Despite having a deep batting line up with capable batsmen all the way down to number 10, it has been a failure to put enough runs on the board that has cost Islamabad dear.
It took a 20-ball 41 from South Africa pacer Wayne Parnell to put up a respectable total of 157-8 against Quetta after their top-order had failed to fire. The in-form Luke Ronchi was dismissed for a golden duck while the move to promote Shadab Khan to number three backfired with the leg-spinner falling for a duck too.
While Hussain Talat and Asif Ali have been decent, South Africa’s Cameron Delport has yet to show his worth to the starting XI after a spate of poor returns.
Skipper Mohammad Sami, Shadab and Parnell were all poor with the ball in the defeat to Quetta and will need to step up if Islamabad are to get back to winning ways.
Peshawar, on the other hand, come into the clash as the in-form team with two comprehensive wins on the trot. Darren Sammy and his men were on fire against Lahore Qalandars whom they bowled out for just 78 runs before they notched up a crushing 44-run win over the formidable Karachi Kings.
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali has been the driving force behind both of Peshawar’s wins with consecutive four-wicket hauls while Wahab Riaz has continued his impressive showings from last season. With Umaid Asid looking good as well, Zalmi’s pace attack is one of the very best in the competition.
With the bat, Imam-ul-Haq came to the fore in the win over Karachi with a superb 56 and his addition to the side is looking like a wise move. Liam Dawson too impressed against the Kings with an all-round show but one man who will be under the microscope come Friday is Kieron Pollard.
The Windies all-rounder’s poor PSL continued with a duck against Karachi which means he has now scored only nine runs in his three innings so far. At the moment, Pollard is hanging onto his spot in the playing XI through reputation alone but the axe is certain to fall on him should his form continue to slide.
Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Rizwan Hussain, Cameron Delport, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Wayne Parnell, Samit Patel, Rummas Raees, Mohammad Sami (c)
Peshawar Zalmi: Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal (wk), Wayne Madsen, Umar Amin, Kieron Pollard, Liam Dawson, Darren Sammy (c), Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umaid Asif, Ibtisam Sheikh
Match starts at 20:00 UAE time
After posting 153-8 with the bat, Peshawar restricted Karachi to 109-9 in their 20 overs to hand Imad Wasim’s men their second straight loss in the competition.
Batting first, Peshawar Zalmi’s innings got off to a poor start with Kamran Akmal falling for a duck. Peshawar looked to be on the road to recovery with a promising stand between Imam-ul-Haq and Umar Amin before Sikandar Raza struck twice in one over with his part time off-spin.
Amin was the first one to fall to Raza after being deceived by the flight before Wayne Madsen was cleaned bowled for a duck.
Kieron Pollard’s poor PSL continued with the West Indies all-rounder falling for a duck after seeing his stumps cleaned up by Karachi skipper Imad Wasim.
Peshawar managed to overcome that poor start with Imam and Liam Dawson stitching together a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket before the latter fell for a well-made 43 (33).
Imam followed Dawson back to the pavilion soon after but not before registering a 38-ball half-century. Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy added some handy late runs with an entertaining cameo of 24 (10) to take his side to a challenging total of 153-8 in their 20 overs.
RUN OUT! Some excellent fielding from @RealHa55an and Peshawar Zalmi have got a massive breakthrough in @babarazam258 (1). Karachi Kings are 13/2 after 3 overs— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 21, 2019
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details 👉 https://t.co/R1IESXmCAE #PZvKK #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/EbqLwuRPh0
While Sammy had provided Zalmi with the perfect finish with the bat by striking a last-ball six, Hasan Ali gave them a roaring start with the ball by dismissing Liam Livingstone off the very first delivery of Karachi’s innings.
The Pakistan pacer then showed brilliant athleticism to run-out the dangerous Babar Azam off his own bowling before Wahab Riaz had Ben Dunk caught behind by Akmal.
Colin Ingram recovered from a nasty blow to his head after being struck by a Wahab Riaz bouncer but the South Africa’s innings was cut short by an excellent run-out effected by Imam.
Raza was given a couple of lives early on but when his 14-run knock was ended by Umaid Asid, Karachi were well on their knees.
Imad and Mohammad Rizwan battled for Karachi without making any significant indent on the Peshawar total but the game was up once Hasan Ali returned to pick up three wickets in the penultimate over.
Peshawar Zalmi: 153-8 (20 overs)
Imam-ul-Haq: 56 (43)
Sikandar Raza: 2-23 (four overs)
Karachi Kings: 109-9 (20 overs)
Hasan Ali: 4-15 (four overs)
After tasting a six-wicket loss in their PSL campaign opener, Peshawar are searching for their second win on the trot following their seven-wicket rout of Lahore Qalandars.
Karachi, meanwhile, opened their campaign with a narrow win over Multan Sultans but come into the clash on the back of a 22-run loss to Lahore Qalandars.
Which team will attain their second win of the competition? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from Sharjah below.